TJ Ryan Foundation Board members, Liz van Acker and Linda Colley, write in the Machinery of Government blog (12.12.18) about the decreasing numbers of female MPs in the federal parliament, and what this might indicate in terms of barriers to women entering politics at all levels of government.
'How to increase women’s representation in Australian parliaments is a contentious issue. Women on the conservative side of politics have been outspoken about gender politics, accusing colleagues of bullying and being excluded from decision-making within the unstable Morrison government. Indeed, Liberal parliamentarian Julia Banks’s ‘defection’ to the cross-bench positioned the federal government into minority status on 27 November 2018.
'Banks stated that she could no longer support the increasingly ‘reactionary right-wing’ faction of the party, and criticised the ‘blinkered rejection of quotas and support of the “merit myth”’. Other senior women such as Julie Bishop and Kelly O’Dwyer have also been very critical of their party’s approach towards gender issues.
'These national events are in contrast to the Queensland state parliament, which has a healthy representation of women in its parliament. In 2017, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made history as the first Australian woman who had been elected for two terms as a state Premier. Women also hold senior cabinet positions such as Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Attorney-General. Queensland was the first ministry in Australia to hold a female-dominated Cabinet.'